2008 Paul

This year we are varying the formats in all the three sessions. The first session will be an ordinary Paul seminar session with papers distributed and read in advance, the second will be a joint seminar with the Acts group, with some pre-distributed contributions, a response, and time for discussion. The third seminar will take as point of departure a paper presented the day before. There will be a little introduction, then a response, and most of the time will be spent in discussion of the issues raised in the paper and in the response.

Session 1

Dr Paul Ellingworth (University of Aberdeen)

'Nobody Knows de Trouble I Seen': Hardship Lists in Paul and Elsewhere

The paper surveys discussions of Paul's hardship lists from 1910 to 2007; analyzes the lists' distinctive vocabulary and discourse structure; and briefly comments on their christological implications.

Professor George van Kooten (University of Groningen)

Paul and Pagan Traditions of Jewish Misanthropy

Normally, Paul's depiction of the Jews as those 'who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, displeasing God and opposing everyone by hindering us from speaking to the nations so that they may be saved' (1 Thess 2.14-16) is first and foremost explained from an inner-Jewish perspective with the aid of O.H. Steck's 'Israel und das gewaltsame Geschick der Propheten' (1967). Yet the latter part of his characterization of the Jews as 'opposing everyone' (kai pasin anthroopois enantioi) also calls for explanation in terms of particular pagan views on the Jews as misanthropists. In this paper I shall argue that in his letter to the ex-pagan Christian community at Thessalonica, Paul seems to draw on these anti-Jewish traditions. Although his aim is to argue that the ex-pagan Thessalonians suffered the same things from their own pagan compatriots as the Christian churches in Judea did from the Jews, it seems as if Paul draws upon distinctively pagan portrayals of Jews as opposed to everyone. It seems as if Paul tries to enhance his own universalist, Christian form of Judaism by portraying non-Christian Jews as 'anti-globalist', ethnocentric misanthropists who hinder him 'from speaking to the nations'. In this paper I shall trace the anti-Jewish traditions Paul draws upon, explain how they fit in Paul's universalist programme and reflect upon how Paul would have seen his own pre-Christian, 'zealous' involvement in the persecution of the Christian churches.

Session 2

Dr Barry Matlock (University of Sheffield)

Paul's Damascus Road experience

Papers by Dr Barry Matlock (University of Sheffield), from the perspective of the Pauline letters, and Tim Churchill (London School of Theology), from the perspective of Acts

Response by Prof Loveday Alexander (University of Sheffield)

Session 3

Professor Dale B. Martin (Yale Divinity School)

Angels, demons, and Paul

For the plenary session, Martin will present the materials on the relationship between angels and demons in pre-Pauline Jewish writings (LXX, 1 Enoch, Jubilees, Josephus) and make the point that for Paul these two beings are in different ontological categories, and that it was only after Paul that Christians began trying to put together demons and angels, making demons "fallen angels" and so forth. If we see Paul as assuming that demons are different ontological beings from angels we may view his cosmology a bit differently.

Then for the Paul seminar, Martin wishes to move the discussion more explicitly to whether this would affect the interpretation of the principalities and powers in Paul. Since it is easy to have a debate and discussion about whether those references in Paul refer to "supernatural" or human forces, or both, one possibility is to take the seminar into a discussion on that and how that would affect a reading of Paul's politics.

So the plenary session would constitute mainly my presenting my research on the lack of identity between angels and demons in Judaism, suggesting that such was also the case for Paul. And the seminar would take off from there into a free-wheeling discussion of principalities and powers and politics in Paul, and whether those could be interpreted "cosmically" as well as politically.

In his response, Stuckenbruck will engage his recent research on apocalyptic traditions, and especially the influence and reception of the Fallen Angels Tradition in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity.

No paper will be distributed in advance for this session, as Martin's paper will be presented in full on Friday afternoon.